At our skin and vein clinic we often get asked, “why did I get varicose veins?”
Luckily so many researchers have studied the question of why people get varicose veins, so we can share with you the most likely reasons people suffer from varicose veins!
And the main reasons you are likely to suffer from varicose veins? Here are ten of them!
All of these risk factors cause our leg vein valves to weaken and prevent the proper flow of blood through the veins causing damage to the vein and creating varicose veins.
It’s in your genes
Like so many medical conditions, researchers have found that varicose veins are hereditary.
If you have a family history of varicose veins, don’t feel bad. It is scary but true, that it is estimated that between at least 40% of those of us that suffer from varicose veins (some researchers say up to half of us!) have inherited a weakness in vein walls or valve functioning that causes varicose veins.
You’re having a baby
Pregnancy can create varicose veins as the growing baby puts pressure on mum-to-be’s legs.
Not only does pregnancy create a large fluctuation in a woman’s body weight, but the increased blood flow also plus pressure on the abdomen – both are major ways we put pressure on the legs to create varicose veins.
And of course, the more pregnancies a woman has, the greater her risk of varicose veins, especially combined with the fact that pregnancy releases hormones that can cause the vein walls to relax.
The good news? For many mothers these might resolve naturally within the first twelve months after birth.
You’re a woman
Woman suffer from varicose veins four times more than men. Research suggests this might be because women are one who have babies, therefore carrying extra weight around the middle (see below).
You’re taking hormones
Taking hormonal medication that is oestrogen based, for example taking an oestrogen-based contraceptive pills or hormone replacement therapy, can increase your risk of suffering from varicose veins.
However, the general female hormonal changes during pregnancy, menstruation and menopause all are considered a factor in varicose veins because these all relax vein walls.
You put on weight
As with being pregnant, gaining weight and obesity create a high risk of causing varicose veins because of the extra pressure placed on your veins. This risk is greater if you are carrying your excess weight around the mid section.
You stand up a lot
Being on your feet all day at work creates stress on your leg and feet veins. This restricts the flow of blood in the body. Alleviate this stress by taking the time to change positions, and if possible walk about every now and then.
You cross your legs
Just like standing in one position, crossing or bending your legs for a continuous period of time means you are forcing your leg veins to work harder to get that blood to your heart.
You lift heavy things
Heavy lifting at work (or in the gym) will increase intra-abdominal pressure. If you are involved in a job that requires high-intensity lifting, or like to go hard at the weights, make sure you balance this heavy lifting.
You smoke, or used to smoke
Smoking affects our health in so many ways, but for leg veins it can create varicose veins.
You got older
With old age our body shows signs of wear and tear, and our vein walls weaken and are less effective. Our calf muscles are not as strong either, which means our bodies are not as efficient in pumping blood back to the heart as we move about. This is further compounded by weaker values that pump blood and regulate our blood flow.